The minor league season is nearly complete. In fact, for two of the farm teams, the season is indeed over. The Dominican Summer League Reds and the Arizona League Reds seasons are over. With that said, when’s a better time to take a whole bunch of questions than right now?

I’m willing to take any question you have and I’ll do my best to give a complete answer to it. While my specialty is certainly geared towards the minor leagues and minor league players, I’ll answer things related to the Major League team, too. I’ll be around to start answering questions starting roughly at noon, though you can submit them before then. Anything asked before 8pm will be answered – but I’m not sure I will get to anything beyond then. Just leave your questions in the comments section below and I’ll reply directly to your comment. There are a few rules, though.

  • Try to avoid questions that will require me to look up answers (such as: Who was the last guy to steal 25 bags and hit 25 home runs in the system).
  • Try to avoid overly long answer-type questions. I tend to give thorough and detailed answers as it is, so please don’t have me type out a novel.
  • Each user can ask TWO questions.
  • Ask your questions before 8PM and I will be sure to answer it. If you ask after 8PM on Wednesday, then I can’t guarantee that I will answer your question.

60 Responses

  1. Old-school

    Reports are Nick Senzel is getting healthy. Where does he play this fall- both site and position as he rehabs for 2019.

    • Doug Gray

      You know, I really don’t have a good answer for this one. But I do have some general ideas. I think he’s going to wind up playing in the Arizona Fall League, which begins the second week of October. As to where he plays, that’s an interesting question. I think he’ll get plenty of time at second base, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they also tried getting him some action in the outfield (I personally wouldn’t go this route – but they may).

      • Kong

        As long as there aren’t any walls for him to run into there he should be fine.

  2. davemoorewvu

    Ibandel Isabel…I hope I spelled his name correctly. How do you see him fitting in in the future? Will we eventually see him in Cincinnati? I really don’t know much about him. Outfielder? Can he play? Obviously, he has power, can he hit for a decent average? Basically, tell me about this kid. Give me some projections..

    Thanks!

    • davemoorewvu

      And yeah, I realize that’s more than 2 questions.. Sorry about that. But I’m really curious about the kid. He’s hit a lot of HR’s and he has my attention. 🙂

    • Doug Gray

      I think he’s a first base only kind of guy in the long run. And that power is absolutely real. Elite level, even if we count big leaguers. But, he’s striking out at an insanely high rate in A-ball. That probably doesn’t project well as he moves up. He’s going to have to make huge strides in his contact ability. Without big improvements there I’m just not sure he’s going to be able to hit enough to get to the big leagues, even with insane amounts of power.

  3. Bill J

    Which player in A plus or below will make the biggest advance next year? Who at AAA orAA will be on the 25 man roster next year?

    • Doug Gray

      I’d say that a guy like Taylor Trammell has the best bet to make the biggest advancement of the guys below Double-A.

      With the 25-man roster thing, I think that you’re probably looking at reliever types, and Nick Senzel. Maybe late in the year you could see a guy like Vladimir Gutierrez or Tony Santillan get a shot at the rotation if they perform well.

      • Doug Gray

        Let me also add that Jose Siri could get a shot in the outfield at some point, too.

  4. Kap

    1. Should we be worried about India and/or his performance in the professional ranks?

    2. Just about every Reds fan agrees that a front of the rotation pitcher is a major need for the Reds currently. In your opinion, which top prospects would you be okay with parting with in order to do this? What would be an example package? For example, starting with trammell and maybe Mahle would be a good start for a borderline ace type

    Thanks Doug and thank you for your work on your website on a daily basis.

    • Doug Gray

      1. Absolutely not. He’s been playing baseball since February. He’s exhausted.

      2. It would be real tough for me to trade Nick Senzel, but I think that everyone should be on the table in the right deal. Tough to put together a package, though. Without knowing the salary and years of control for a hypothetical pitcher makes it impossible. But, as I said, anyone and everyone should realistically be on the table for the kind of pitcher you’re talking about.

  5. D Ray White

    1: Who has surprised you the most this season? In other words, who really upped their prospect stock?

    2: Does Isabel Ibandel possess enough plate discipline to be a realistic prospect? The power is obvious, and first base is thin in the minors.

    • Doug Gray

      1. I’d say Jonathan Willems has upped his stock more than anyone else in my book. Since my midseason rankings came out (he was ranked 24th), he’s dropped a little bit. But, he went from a literal unknown with no production to speak of, to a dude who’s showing some good offensive tools with some production as a teenager.

      2. I guess that depends on your definition of realistic prospect. I think right now the numbers speak for themselves: 8% walk rate, 36% strikeout rate. That’s not going to work. So, no, right now, it’s not there. Doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future – though it’s probably a very small number of guys with those rates who improved them enough – especially as a corner guy, to make it work.

  6. cfd3000

    1. Apart from Stephenson and Reed who don’t really fit the prospect moniker any more, and setting aside Hunter Greene, are there any future impact starters in the system now?
    2. How has Shed Long progressed this year? I realize it depends on what happens with Gennett, Senzel, and maybe Herrera and India, but Is he on his way to Cincinnati for 2020, or has he just built his value as a trade chip? Consider that one question to answer as you like.

    Thanks as always Doug.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Not Doug (obviously), but Tony Santillan has put together an excellent season and has been better in AA than A+ since his promotion.

    • Doug Gray

      1. Tony Santillan, as Hotto4Votto noted, is the guy to look at right now. He’s in Double-A, he’s got big stuff, and he’s throwing tons of strikes this season. He turned 21 in April, so he’s still very young – but right now, he’s the guy. Behind him there are a handful of guys that belong in the “keep an eye on” category, but there’s a pretty huge gap between Santillan and anyone else (not counting Greene, of course).

      2. Shed had a big April, but he really struggled in May/June/July, hitting .223/.319/.385 in that span. He’s rebounded in August in terms of his average, but he’s got a .763 OPS in 23 games this month. Long run I think he’s going to be fine. But, the bigger issue is one you laid out – with Gennett/Senzel/Herrera/Blandino, maybe India – where does he play? I’m a believer that Shed Long is going to be a big leaguer. But I honestly have no clue what position it’ll come at, or if it will be with the Reds.

  7. Hotto4Votto

    Would you share thoughts on Lyon Richardson’s debut season? Seems to me like he’s struggled to adjust to pro ball, and especially with throwing strikes.

    There’s a lot of infielders showing well in short season ball. Juan Martinez and Claudio Finol are two relatively unheralded minor leaguers. Should we be excited about them and what’s their current projection as prospects?

    Thanks Doug for the great work you do keeping us all informed of the Reds farm system.

    • Doug Gray

      1. With Richardson I’ll say that I’m not too worried right now. He’s got stuff, and when I’m looking at 18-year-old pitchers, that’s about all I’m concerned with. That said, the numbers aren’t good. The walk rate is significantly higher than you’d like to see (and a result of that is also a very high ERA). Hindsight is always 20/20, but he probably would have been better served back in Goodyear with the AZL Reds where he’d be facing a lower level of competition and guys more in line with his age. Long run, this season doesn’t mean much. Get through it healthy, come back in March and get to work.

      2. Martinez has some real pop in his bat. He’s a teenager who’s hit a home run further than ANY big league Cincinnati Red has hit this season. He’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. With Finol, there’s some stuff to like there. He’s an 18-year-old hitting over .300 beyond complex ball. I’d like to be able to talk to a few more people about him, particularly his defense and where he could possibly wind up (shortstop/second). I’ve heard a few nice things from scouts on his bat – but no one had really seen enough of him defensively at the time I spoke with them to give me much on that side (it was their first time seeing him).

  8. big5ed

    Doug, who on the current 40-man roster are the leading candidates to be dropped from it, and when does the decision have to be made?

    And what key players need to be added to avoid Rule 5 issues?

    And (cheating a bit) is there any chance that guys like Brian O’Grady or Blake Trahan (they need a SS backup for September) or Hernan Irribarren (as a good will gesture) are put on the 40-man and recalled in September?

    • Doug Gray

      No 40-man moves need to be made until the team needs a spot open. With that said, the first date to look for is a few days after the World Series. That’s when free agency begins, and while I don’t think the Reds will get in on the big leaguers right away, there’s an important side of it with the minor leaguers. A guy like Gabriel Guerrero can leave via minor league free agency at that point. But, if the Reds want to keep him around, they could add him to the 40-man and retain his rights. I could see that one going either direction. As for who could be dropped…. I’d say guys like Brice, Lopez, Reyes, Stephens, Weiss, Dixon, Tucker, Williams are probably the group you’re looking at when it comes to possible guys they would put out there.

      Rule 5 guys, off of the top of my head: Jimmy Herget, Guerrero, O’Grady are the ones that will be up for consideration. I think Herget’s a lock to be added. The other two, I’m just not sure about.

      I’d be surprised if the team brought anyone up in September that’s not on the current 40-man.

  9. WVRedlegs

    1. What is your opinion on the Reds new hire for Director of Amateur Scouting, Brad Meador, and what do you know about him? This seems like a typical Reds hire and not one with a thorough search.

    2. Is Miguel Hernandez at Greeneville a real honest to goodness SS and not the typical Reds hybrid middle infielder?

    • Doug Gray

      1. I honestly don’t know much about him. He used to be an assistant college baseball coach (New Mexico State, University of Cincinnati). He’s been with the Reds for nearly a decade now, working as a scout on the amateur side of things. Was the guy who signed Nick Senzel, a few other big leaguers, and a handful of current Reds minor leaguers. I did share the initial thought that you had about an internal hire, though. But, I’m going to be very fair with Brad Meador – I simply don’t know enough to say whether it’s a good or bad hire. That said, I thought that Buckley did a good job running the draft for the Reds during his tenure. His biggest weakness was that he didn’t draft a superstar (though there’s still a few guys he took with a chance to be that – Senzel/Greene/Trammell) – but he drafted a whole lot of big leaguers, and I think 7 all-stars in his run. I’m sure that Buckley had some input on Meador to the guys above him who were ultimately responsible for making the decision on who to hire. And since I believe that Buckley did a fine job, and he probably had good things to say about Meador, until I see otherwise, there’s not much reason to think it was a bad hire. Whether it was the best hire is a very different story. And it’s one that I’m in no way qualified to make a suggestion on.

      2. Very much a real, honest to goodness shortstop. I wrote about him over at The Athletic earlier this week. Go give it a read. https://theathletic.com/484772/2018/08/27/miguel-hernandez-the-reds-international-signing-thats-paying-off/

  10. Ghettotrout1

    Doug – I don’t like seeing the losing just as much as anyone else but do you think dealing any prospects this offseason may be a little premature. I would just hate to see them deal prospects and then still not really get over the hump into the playoff picture and then we have like 3 – 5 mediocre years and we have to rebuild all over again.

    • Doug Gray

      If I were running the team, I’d be looking all winter to trade prospects for pitching. The right deal needs to be there, but the everyday spots aren’t bad. I’d look to upgrade center field, for sure, but I’d be comfortable going forward with those guys, too. The pitching, however, needs real improvement, and it needs it now. The farm system has plenty of depth to it. You can make some trades and still have quality options to go to just about anywhere.

  11. David

    Caalten Daal was once a rising prospect at SS. Then he got hurt and was out almost all of last year. This year he was supposed to rehab at High A, and he’s on the DL.
    Is his career over?

    • Doug Gray

      As far as I know he’s not retiring, but it’s been disappointing to see him go through all that he has in the last 2.5 years. Between being hit in the head with a ball that cost him time, to returning and being hit in the head again two games in and losing time, to multiple shoulder injuries costing him the last two years – it’s been a very rough go of it.

      We will have to wait and see how the shoulder recovers, again. He’s always had the athleticism. But man, shoulders are just bad news.

  12. David

    Nick Howard is pitching again (in relief) for AA Pensacola. Is there any appearance that he will once again become a top prospect, regarding recovery from injury, or is he just being held onto because he was a top draft choice in 2014?

    • Doug Gray

      He’s certainly made strides in the last year. But he’s still not throwing as hard as he used to. The breaking ball looks good at times. I certainly don’t think anyone should be counting on him moving forward, but he looks like a different guy than he did a year or two ago, too. He’ll never be a top prospect again. He’s a reliever at this point and unless you throw 100 as a reliever, AND you put up insane numbers, it’s hard to be a real prospect in that role.

  13. Ethan L

    Could you give updates and predictions for Tejay Antone and Satchel Mcelroy?

    Why do the Reds have two rookie-level teams (Greenville and Billings)?

    Thanks!

    • Doug Gray

      Tejay Antone has pitched a little better than I expected him to coming off of TJ. Before the injury I thought he had a look as a future reliever that could focus on the fastball/breaking ball combo. I think that still holds true. Probably more of a middle reliever than someone you’ll pitch at the back end, but there’s a chance that his stuff could play well in the middle relief role.

      Satchel McElroy is hitting .137.

      Two rookie teams at the same level is interesting. I like it. It provides some extra playing time that didn’t used to be available for some guys. Think about a guy like Claudio Finol, for example. Last year he would have been stuck back in Arizona and taking time away from someone else. This year he’s in Greeneville and showing himself off as an 18-year-old. Look at all of the outfield prospects between the AZL/Greeneville/Billings – some of those guys wouldn’t be playing much right now. Those at-bats are very valuable. And that was one of the reasons the Reds wanted to do it. It just gives extra opportunities to guys. Early on, at least position wise, it’s already bearing fruit. The pitching, however, has been stretched thin at these levels. I think moving forward that will get straightened out some, but this first year it’s been a tough transition in terms of having enough quality arms to fill out three rookie level teams.

    • Ben

      Didnt they add the second team to open up more spits at 2nd base?

  14. Doug Gray

    I’m running a tad behind today guys. I’ll be back soon enough to start tackling these, so keep asking away.

  15. Adam Vance

    Given the importance of the need to develop starting pitchers –
    1. Who are the best starting pitching prospects in terms of ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes?
    2. Who are the best starting pitching prospects in terms of raw stuff (ignoring control at this point)?

    • Doug Gray

      1. Vladimir Gutierrez, Tony Santillan. Hunter Greene was getting there before he got hurt.

      2. Hunter Greene. Small gap. Tony Santillan. Huge gap to anyone else.

  16. dbfromnva

    Reds have a horrible record developing Latin players. This year it may be changing. Which three young players excite you the most and why?

    • Doug Gray

      Miguel Hernandez. He’s a good middle infielder who has a chance to hit.

      Jose Garcia. Another good middle infielder with a chance to hit. He’s better than the numbers this season say.

      Mariel Bautista. Center fielder with a good hit tool and some power potential.

  17. Jim Walker

    Hey Doug,

    When does Tyler Stephenson seen GABP as MLB player and is he a catcher or something else when he gets there.

    • Doug Gray

      I think he’ll be a catcher. And let’s shoot for 2021.

  18. dougschloemer

    1. What type of SP might a package of Gennett, India and and one of Stephenson/Mahle/Romano bring in your opinion?
    2. Odds that Winker, Hamilton, Schebler are opening day starting OF in 2019?

    • Doug Gray

      1. In theory a package of Gennett/India and one of those pitchers should bring you a pretty good return. But in reality, it’s tough to say. Not many teams have much interest in Gennett. I can’t imagine many teams beating down the door to grab any of those young pitchers, either. Interested in adding them? Sure. But India would be the guy to carry that trade.

      2. Assuming health, I think the odds are probably like 75%.

  19. jreis

    Hi DOUG, I have been really impressed with Andy Sigulio the last couple of times of have been in Dayton for a game. where do you see him fitting in for the future of the reds outfield ,if at all?

    • Doug Gray

      I’m a Sugilio fan. He’s got some real interesting tools. His swing is going to need some improvement, particularly on pitches up in the zone (from the left side). But, he’s one of the fastest players in the organization, can play center field, can steal bases, can hit, has some pop (there’s more than the numbers this year suggest). At the midseason point I believe I had him ranked 15th in the system, and I don’t think much has changed for me since then – I noted that I felt his hamstring injury he suffered to start the year carried over to his performance even after he returned and I wasn’t going to punish his prospect ranking for it because I was a believer. He’s still several years away, and he’s going to have to keep improving. But all of the parts are there for him to be a starting caliber Major League center fielder.

  20. redsfan4040

    The Reds are looking at getting a pick in the 7 to 10 range. How does that draft strategy and draft pool compare to years past?

    Who would your September call ups be?

    • Doug Gray

      It’s way too early to know how the draft itself stacks up. The draft pools aren’t out yet either, and won’t be for a while – we need to see the final standings and how the compensation picks play out before we know how much money teams will have.

      I’d bring up Jose Siri and play him at least 3-4 times a week in center. It could be ugly, offensively. But he’s such an explosive player, and I don’t think the defensive downgrade from Hamilton would be noticed much at all. I think having him around guys like Votto/Suarez, particularly when it comes to stuff like controlling their swing zones, could be very beneficial for him. I’d also bring up Lucas Sims. Some of the other pitchers, if you feel you need more arms, go for it.

  21. Old-school

    Why do you love the Reds so much? Who was your first favorite Red?

    • Doug Gray

      Because like a lot of people, I’m a big dumb idiot and root for the team based in the city in which I’m from as if it somehow makes me, or my place of existence better because of it. As an adult, the concept of my favorite team being entirely tied up in “well, I was born in this city” is wild. Yet here we are.

      My first favorite Red, even though I don’t remember it at all, was Dave Parker. That was my guy when I was super young (born in 1984). Here’s the weird thing, I’m not really sure I had a true favorite Red until Ken Griffey Jr showed up. The Reds were always my team, but it was a team concept. In 1989, when I was all of five years old, I like many other kids of the time, collected baseball cards. I was probably more into it than others – my grandpa collected them big time, so I was able to get doubles from his collection, my parents would get me some when the money was there. Even at five, I was looking through the Beckett Price Guides (I was a total weirdo even back then). I had no clue who Ken Griffey Jr was. But I looked at prices of cards and always noted the up arrows, indicating that prices had been rising. All of his cards had the up arrow. I noticed the name. Jr. I’m also a Jr. For no other reason than that, he was my favorite player then. I had never even seen him play. But I started collecting his cards and of course, shortly after I decided he was my favorite player I found out that he was from Cincinnati, went to school here, my mom actually went to school with him for one year (and I’ve got the yearbook with a 2nd grade Ken Griffey Jr), his dad played in Cincinnati – all of the good stuff. Turns out that my sheer luck on seeing his name in a Beckett with an up arrow at the age of five led me to tracking and following his career as closely as possible and he wound up being one of the all-time greats.

      • Doug Gray

        I guess I didn’t really expand so much on why I love the Reds, so here goes. I just love baseball. I’ve always loved baseball. Probably way more than I should, which is what anyone that seeks out Redleg Nation can probably say about themselves, too – we’re all the die hards, because who else is trying to find another place to talk about their favorite sports team beyond the local news sites/ESPN/official website of whatever team? It’s the crazy among us.

        So toss that in with the whole being born here and for some reason falling in love with the hometown team, and here we are.

      • Old-school

        That’s awesome. Ken Griffey Jr was a gift to baseball fans and my son’s fav player when he was little. Of course when he was little, he struggled with pronouncing names. It was Home Run Bailey and Ryan Dumpster.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Ah, the days of baseball cards and The Sporting News, perusing the morning paper for scores and what limited stats could be found and cursing the darn left coast games for running to late for inclusion.

        Jim O’Toole and Frank Robinson headlined my first home town baseball legends. Those were great days and fond memories.

      • Doug Gray

        I was never a sporting news guy, but I did go get Baseball Weekly every week at Ameristop when it came out (I believe it was Wednesday) after I got off of the bus. I poured through that thing like it was sacred word.

      • greenmtred

        Similar memories, Cossack. Used to spend my paper route money on the Sporting News.

  22. citizen54

    Not really minors related but what’s with the short leash on Robert Stephenson? Riggleman originally said he was going to stay in the rotation and then after a start where he shows some progress he gets relegated to the pen. How are the Reds going to develop pitchers if they aren’t willing to be patient? Is Reed going to suffer the same fate if he doesn’t produce right away?

    • Doug Gray

      I guess I can answer this a few different ways. And I think there could be a variety of answers here.

      First, I think it’s a bad decision to have pulled the plug with Stephenson after three starts. I would have kept him out there starting longer. Granted I also would have called him up sooner, too.

      With that said, sometimes you know and don’t need to see more. As I said, I don’t think I was at that point. But, maybe the Reds were.

      Another thing is, the baseball people seem to make it more clear every few months that some of the things they are doing aren’t their call. You don’t have to read very hard between the lines to see that Bob Castellini is making decisions over the baseball people. Was watching three starts, two of which were quite poor, enough to make him step in and say “I want someone else starting”? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t even be entirely shocking if that happened to be the case.

      Maybe the team wanted to get a look at Cody Reed against big leaguers in a starters role and needed to move someone out of the rotation to do that. And since it seems painfully obvious to me that Castellini isn’t letting Homer Bailey pitch anywhere but the rotation, that came at the expense of Stephenson. And I’ve had the same question you asked at the end about Reed. If he doesn’t go out and have no hiccups, is he going to be yanked out of the rotation after a week?

      With all of that said, I do think that with regards to Robert Stephenson, the team has been patient. He’s out of options after this season. He’ll be 26 next year. If he were 22, you could say that they haven’t been patient. But they’ve been waiting around for his control to show improvement for 4 years now. And it really hasn’t.

  23. Corey

    I’ve listened to the RedLeg Nation podcast and have a questions. Is Jason Linden really your friend and mine?

    • Doug Gray

      I can’t speak to him being your friend. I consider Jason my friend, though. Even if he does think I’m a bit out there (he’s not wrong).

  24. David

    Doug, thank you for putting yourself out there and answering so many questions.
    It is an education to learn about the young guys in the Minors.